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T.I. says coronavirus health disparities in black communities expose systemic institutionalized racism


Roy Rochlin/FilmMagicT.I. has joined forces with former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin to raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the African-American community.

“There’s systemic, institutionalized racism all about this country” and the health disparities illuminated by the coronavirus pandemic have “exposed” it, the Atlanta rapper told ABC News on Monday.

Benjamin, who served under the administration of former President Barack Obama from 2009-2013, appeared on a special edition of T.I.’s podcast “expediTIously” to educate people about the health disparities that are leading to a higher percentage of coronavirus deaths in the black community and to “dispel some misconceptions” about the virus.

“We lead in diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol. You know, we have so many pre-existing conditions already,” T.I. said. “There’s more black people without proper health care so ain’t not telling when the last time they got [themselves] checked out … and not to mention asthma… You have these pre-existing conditions and then you throw on top of it another crucial, treacherous attacker of your respiratory system.”

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said earlier this month that communities most impacted by COVID-19 suffer from higher rates of health conditions that put them at increased risk of infection. Many live in crowded environments and work essential jobs that do not allow them to work from home.

The health disparities began to come to light as some states released COVID-19 data, broken down by race.

T.I. said it’s important to highlight the “poverty” and prolonged “lack of investment” in black communities in the discussion about COVID-19 health disparities.

The rapper also urged his family and his community to stay home following a controversial decision by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to reopen non-essential businesses.

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